The systolic variation of mitral regurgitation (MR) is a pitfall in its quantification. Current recommendations advocate using quantitative echocardiographic techniques that account for this systolic variation. While prior studies have qualitatively described patterns of systolic variation no study has quantified this variation.
This study includes 41 patients who underwent cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) evaluation for the assessment of MR. Systole was divided into 3 equal parts: early, mid, and late. The MR jets were categorized as holosystolc, early, or late based on the portions of systole the jet was visible. The aortic flow and left ventricular stroke volume (LVSV) acquired by CMR were plotted against time. The instantaneous regurgitant rate was calculated for each third of systole as the difference between the LVSV and the aortic flow.
The regurgitant rate varied widely with a 1.9-fold, 3.4-fold, and 1.6-fold difference between the lowest and highest rate in patients with early, late, and holosystolic jets respectively. There was overlap of peak regurgitant rates among patients with mild, moderate and severe MR. The greatest variation of regurgitant rate was seen among patients with mild MR.
CMR can quantify the systolic temporal variation of MR. There is significant variation of the mitral regurgitant rate even among patients with holosystolic MR jets. These findings highlight the need to use quantitative measures of MR severity that take into consideration the temporal variation of MR.
Mitral regurgitation; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Echocardiography; Temporal variation
Recently pericardial adipose tissue (PAT) has been shown to be an independent predictor of atrial fibrillation (AF). Atrial PAT may influence underlying atrial musculature creating a substrate for AF. This study sought to validate the assessment of total and atrial PAT by standard cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) measures and describe and validate a three dimensional atrial PAT model.
10 merino cross sheep underwent CMR using a 1.5 Tesla system (Siemens, Sonata, Erlangen, Germany). Atrial and ventricular short axis (SA) images were acquired, using ECG -gated steady state free precession sequences. In order to quantify total volume of adipose tissue, a three dimensional model was constructed from consecutive end-diastolic images using semi-automated software. Regions of adipose tissue were marked in each slice followed by linear interpolation of pixel intensities in spaces between consecutive image slices. Total volume of adipose tissue was calculated as a total volume of the three dimensional model and the mass estimated from volume measurements. The sheep were euthanized and pericardial adipose tissue was removed and weighed for comparison to the corresponding CMR measurements.
All CMR adipose tissue estimates significantly correlated with autopsy measurements (ICC > 0.80; p < 0.03). Intra- observer reliability in CMR measures was high, with 95% levels of agreement within 5.5% (ICC = 0.995) for total fat mass and its individual atrial (95% CI ± 8.3%, ICC = 0.993) and ventricular components (95% CI ± 6.6%, ICC = 0.989). Inter- observer 95% limits of agreement were within ± 10.7% (ICC = 0.979), 7.4% (ICC = 0.991) and 7.2% (ICC = 0.991) for atrial, ventricular and total pericardial adipose tissue, respectively.
This study validates the use of a semi-automated three dimensional atrial PAT model utilizing standard (clinical) CMR sequences for accurate and reproducible assessment of atrial PAT. The measurement of local cardiac fat stores via this methodology could provide a sensitive tool to examine the regional effect of fat deposition on atrial substrate which potentially may influence AF ablation strategies in obese patients.
Atrial; Pericardial adipose tissue; Validation; CMR
Severe aortic stenosis (AS) patients with late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) on cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) or left ventricular (LV) systolic dysfunction are known to have worse outcome. We aimed to investigate whether LGE on CMR would be useful in early detection of subclinical LV structural and functional derangements in AS patients.
118 patients with moderate to severe AS were prospectively enrolled. Echocardiography and CMR images were taken and the patients were divided into groups according to the presence/absence of LGE and of LV systolic dysfunction (LV ejection fraction (EF) <50%). The stiffness of LV was calculated based on Doppler and CMR measurements.
Patients were grouped into either group 1, no LGE and normal LVEF, group 2, LGE but normal LVEF and group 3, LGE with depressed LVEF. There was a significant trend towards increasing LV volumes, worsening of LV diastolic function (E/e’, diastolic elastance), systolic function (end-systolic elastance) and LV hypertrophy between the three groups, which coincided with worsening functional capacity (all p-value < 0.001 for trend). Also, significant differences in the above parameters were noted between group 1 and 2 (E/e’, 14.6 ± 4.3 (mean ± standard deviation) in group 1 vs. 18.2 ± 9.4 in group 2; end-systolic elastance, 3.24 ± 2.31 in group 1 vs. 2.38 ± 1.16 in group 2, all p-value < 0.05). The amount of myocardial fibrosis on CMR correlated with parameters of diastolic (diastolic elastance, Spearman’s ρ = 0.256, p-value = 0.005) and systolic function (end-systolic elastance, Spearman’s ρ = -0.359, p-value < 0.001).
These findings demonstrate the usefulness of CMR for early detection of subclinical LV structural and functional deterioration in AS patients.
Aortic stenosis; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Echocardiography; Heart function; Ventricular remodeling; Magnetic resonance imaging; Myocardial function; Myocardial fibrosis
Advanced measures of cardiac function are increasingly important to clinical assessment due to their superior diagnostic and predictive capabilities. Cine DENSE cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) is ideal for quantifying advanced measures of cardiac function based on its high spatial resolution and streamlined post-processing. While many studies have utilized cine DENSE in both humans and small-animal models, the inter-test and inter-observer reproducibility for quantification of advanced cardiac function in mice has not been evaluated. This represents a critical knowledge gap for both understanding the capabilities of this technique and for the design of future experiments. We hypothesized that cine DENSE CMR would show excellent inter-test and inter-observer reproducibility for advanced measures of left ventricular (LV) function in mice.
Five normal mice (C57BL/6) and four mice with depressed cardiac function (diet-induced obesity) were imaged twice, two days apart, on a 7T ClinScan MR system. Images were acquired with 15–20 frames per cardiac cycle in three short-axis (basal, mid, apical) and two long-axis orientations (4-chamber and 2-chamber). LV strain, twist, torsion, and measures of synchrony were quantified. Images from both days were analyzed by one observer to quantify inter-test reproducibility, while inter-observer reproducibility was assessed by a second observer’s analysis of day-1 images. The coefficient of variation (CoV) was used to quantify reproducibility.
LV strains and torsion were highly reproducible on both inter-observer and inter-test bases with CoVs ≤ 15%, and inter-observer reproducibility was generally better than inter-test reproducibility. However, end-systolic twist angles showed much higher variance, likely due to the sensitivity of slice location within the sharp longitudinal gradient in twist angle. Measures of synchrony including the circumferential (CURE) and radial (RURE) uniformity of strain indices, showed excellent reproducibility with CoVs of 1% and 3%, respectively. Finally, peak measures (e.g., strains) were generally more reproducible than the corresponding rates of change (e.g., strain rate).
Cine DENSE CMR is a highly reproducible technique for quantification of advanced measures of left ventricular cardiac function in mice including strains, torsion and measures of synchrony. However, myocardial twist angles are not reproducible and future studies should instead report torsion.
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; DENSE; Strain; Reproducibility; Mice; Heart
The function of the peripheral microvascular may be interrogated by measuring perfusion, tissue oxygen concentration, or venous oxygen saturation (SvO2) recovery dynamics following induced ischemia. The purpose of this work is to develop and evaluate a magnetic resonance (MR) technique for simultaneous measurement of perfusion, SvO2, and skeletal muscle T2*.
Perfusion, Intravascular Venous Oxygen saturation, and T2* (PIVOT) is comprised of interleaved pulsed arterial spin labeling (PASL) and multi-echo gradient-recalled echo (GRE) sequences. During the PASL post-labeling delay, images are acquired with a multi-echo GRE to quantify SvO2 and T2* at a downstream slice location. Thus time-courses of perfusion, SvO2, and T2* are quantified simultaneously within a single scan. The new sequence was compared to separately measured PASL or multi-echo GRE data during reactive hyperemia in five young healthy subjects. To explore the impairment present in peripheral artery disease patients, five patients were evaluated with PIVOT.
Comparison of PIVOT-derived data to the standard techniques shows that there was no significant bias in any of the time-course-derived metrics. Preliminary data show that PAD patients exhibited alterations in perfusion, SvO2, and T2* time-courses compared to young healthy subjects.
Simultaneous quantification of perfusion, SvO2, and T2* is possible with PIVOT. Kinetics of perfusion, SvO2, and T2* during reactive hyperemia may help to provide insight into the function of the peripheral microvasculature in patients with PAD.
Peripheral artery disease; Atherosclerosis; Microvascular function; Perfusion; Dynamic oximetry; T2*; BOLD; Reactive hyperemia; Skeletal muscle
Atherosclerotic plaques in carotid arteries can be characterized in-vivo by multicontrast cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR), which has been thoroughly validated with histology. However, the non-quantitative nature of multicontrast CMR and the need for extensive post-acquisition interpretation limit the widespread clinical application of in-vivo CMR plaque characterization. Quantitative T2 mapping is a promising alternative since it can provide absolute physical measurements of plaque components that can be standardized among different CMR systems and widely adopted in multi-centre studies. The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of in-vivo T2 mapping for atherosclerotic plaque characterization by performing American Heart Association (AHA) plaque type classification, segmenting carotid T2 maps and measuring in-vivo T2 values of plaque components.
The carotid arteries of 15 atherosclerotic patients (11 males, 71 ± 10 years) were imaged at 3 T using the conventional multicontrast protocol and Multiple-Spin-Echo (Multi-SE). T2 maps of carotid arteries were generated by mono-exponential fitting to the series of images acquired by Multi-SE using nonlinear least-squares regression. Two reviewers independently classified carotid plaque types following the CMR-modified AHA scheme, one using multicontrast CMR and the other using T2 maps and time-of-flight (TOF) angiography. A semi-automated method based on Bayes classifiers segmented the T2 maps of carotid arteries into 4 classes: calcification, lipid-rich necrotic core (LRNC), fibrous tissue and recent IPH. Mean ± SD of the T2 values of voxels classified as LRNC, fibrous tissue and recent IPH were calculated.
In 37 images of carotid arteries from 15 patients, AHA plaque type classified by multicontrast CMR and by T2 maps (+ TOF) showed good agreement (76% of matching classifications and Cohen’s κ = 0.68). The T2 maps of 14 normal arteries were used to measure T2 of tunica intima and media (T2 = 54 ± 13 ms). From 11865 voxels in the T2 maps of 15 arteries with advanced atherosclerosis, 2394 voxels were classified by the segmentation algorithm as LRNC (T2 = 37 ± 5 ms) and 7511 voxels as fibrous tissue (T2 = 56 ± 9 ms); 192 voxels were identified as calcification and one recent IPH (236 voxels, T2 = 107 ± 25 ms) was detected on T2 maps and confirmed by multicontrast CMR.
This carotid CMR study shows the potential of in-vivo T2 mapping for atherosclerotic plaque characterization. Agreement between AHA plaque types classified by T2 maps (+TOF) and by conventional multicontrast CMR was good, and T2 measured in-vivo in LRNC, fibrous tissue and recent IPH demonstrated the ability to discriminate plaque components on T2 maps.
Atherosclerosis; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Carotid plaque imaging; In-vivo T2 map; Plaque segmentation; Lipid-rich necrotic core; Fibrous tissue; AHA plaque type classification
Radiofrequency (RF) shading artifacts degrade image quality while performing cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) at higher field strengths. In this article, we sought to evaluate the effect of local RF (B1 field) shimming by using a dual-source–transmit RF system for cardiac cine imaging and to systematically evaluate the effect of subject body type on the B1 field with and without local RF shimming.
We obtained cardiac images from 37 subjects (including 11 patients) by using dual-transmit 3T CMR. B1 maps with and without subject-specific local RF shimming (exploiting the independent control of transmit amplitude and phase of the 2 RF transmitters) were obtained. Metrics quantifying B1 field homogeneity were calculated and compared with subject body habitus.
Local RF shimming across the region encompassed by the heart increased the mean flip angle (μ) in that area (88.5 ± 15.2% vs. 81.2 ± 13.3%; P = 0.0014), reduced the B1 field variation by 42.2 ± 13%, and significantly improved the percentage of voxels closer to μ (39% and 82% more voxels were closer to ± 10% and ± 5% of μ, respectively) when compared with no RF shimming. B1 homogeneity was independent of subject body type (body surface area [BSA], body mass index [BMI] or anterior-posterior/right-left patient width ratio [AP/RL]). Subject specific RF (B1) shimming with a dual-transmit system improved local RF homogeneity across all body types.
With or without RF shimming, cardiac B1 field homogeneity does not depend on body type, as characterized by BMI, BSA, and AP/RL. For all body types studied, cardiac B1 field homogeneity was significantly improved by performing local RF shimming with 2 independent RF-transmit channels. This finding indicates the need for subject-specific RF shimming.
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Dual-transmit radiofrequency system; B1 field shimming; Patient body habitus
Left ventricular noncompaction (LVNC) describes deep trabeculations in the left ventricular (LV) endocardium and a thinned epicardium. LVNC is seen both as a primary cardiomyopathy and as a secondary finding in other syndromes affecting the myocardium such as neuromuscular disorders. The objective of this study is to define the prevalence of LVNC in the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) population and characterize its relationship to global LV function.
Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) was used to assess ventricular morphology and function in 151 subjects: DMD with ejection fraction (EF) > 55% (n = 66), DMD with EF < 55% (n = 30), primary LVNC (n = 15) and normal controls (n = 40). The non-compacted to compacted (NC/C) ratio was measured in each of the 16 standard myocardial segments. LVNC was defined as a diastolic NC/C ratio > 2.3 for any segment.
LVNC criteria were met by 27/96 DMD patients (prevalence of 28%): 11 had an EF > 55% (prevalence of 16.7%), and 16 had an EF < 55% (prevalence of 53.3%). The median maximum NC/C ratio was 1.8 for DMD with EF > 55%, 2.46 for DMD with EF < 55%, 1.54 for the normal subjects, and 3.69 for primary LVNC patients. Longitudinal data for 78 of the DMD boys demonstrated a mean rate of change in NC/C ratio per year of +0.36.
The high prevalence of LVNC in DMD is associated with decreased LV systolic function that develops over time and may represent muscular degeneration versus compensatory remodeling.
Left ventricular noncompaction; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging
While cancer-free survival has improved over the past 20 years for many individuals with prostate, renal, breast, and hematologic malignancies, the increasingly recognized prevalence of cardiovascular (CV) events in cancer survivors has been an unintended consequence of many of the therapies that have improved these survival rates. The increase in CV events threatens to offset the improvement in cancer related survival. As a result, there is an emerging need to develop methods to identify those individuals treated for cancer at increased risk of cardiovascular events. With its inherent ability to characterize myocardial tissue and identify both cardiac and vascular dysfunction, cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) has the potential to identify both subclinical and early clinical CV injury before the development of an overt catastrophic event such as a myocardial infarction, stroke, or premature cardiac death. Early identification provides an opportunity for the implementation of primary prevention strategies to prevent such events, thereby improving overall cancer survivorship and quality of life. This article reviews the etiology of CV events associated with cancer therapy and the unique potential of CMR to provide early diagnosis of subclinical CV injury related to the administration of these therapies.
Cardiotoxicity; Chemotherapy; Cancer; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance
The distribution of blood flow in fetuses with congenital heart disease (CHD) is likely to influence fetal growth, organ development, and postnatal outcome, but has previously been difficult to study. We present the first measurements of the distribution of the fetal circulation in left-sided CHD made using phase contrast cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR).
Twenty-two fetuses with suspected left-sided CHD and twelve normal controls underwent fetal CMR and echocardiography at a mean of 35 weeks gestation (range 30–39 weeks).
Fetuses with left-sided CHD had a mean combined ventricular output 19% lower than normal controls (p < 0.01). In fetuses with left-sided CHD with pulmonary venous obstruction, pulmonary blood flow was significantly lower than in those with left-sided CHD without pulmonary venous obstruction (p < 0.01). All three fetuses with pulmonary venous obstruction had pulmonary lymphangectasia by fetal CMR and postnatal histology. Fetuses with small but apex forming left ventricles with left ventricular outflow tract or aortic arch obstruction had reduced ascending aortic and foramen ovale flow compared with normals (p < 0.01). Fetuses with left-sided CHD had more variable superior vena caval flows than normal controls (p < 0.05). Six fetuses with CHD had brain weights at or below the 5th centile for gestational age, while none of the fetuses in the normal control group had brain weights below the 25th centile.
Measurement of the distribution of the fetal circulation in late gestation left-sided CHD is feasible with CMR. We demonstrated links between fetal blood flow distribution and postnatal course, and examined the relationship between fetal hemodynamics and lung and brain development. CMR enhances our understanding of pathophysiology of the fetal circulation and, with more experience, may help with the planning of perinatal management and fetal counselling.
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) T1 mapping indices, such as T1 time and partition coefficient (λ), have shown potential to assess diffuse myocardial fibrosis. The purpose of this study was to investigate how scanner and field strength variation affect the accuracy and precision/reproducibility of T1 mapping indices.
CMR studies were performed on two 1.5T and three 3T scanners. Eight phantoms were made to mimic the T1/T2 of pre- and post-contrast myocardium and blood at 1.5T and 3T. T1 mapping using MOLLI was performed with simulated heart rate of 40-100 bpm. Inversion recovery spin echo (IR-SE) was the reference standard for T1 determination. Accuracy was defined as the percent error between MOLLI and IR-SE, and scan/re-scan reproducibility was defined as the relative percent mean difference between repeat MOLLI scans. Partition coefficient was estimated by ΔR1myocardium phantom/ΔR1blood phantom. Generalized linear mixed model was used to compare the accuracy and precision/reproducibility of T1 and λ across field strength, scanners, and protocols.
Field strength significantly affected MOLLI T1 accuracy (6.3% error for 1.5T vs. 10.8% error for 3T, p<0.001) but not λ accuracy (8.8% error for 1.5T vs. 8.0% error for 3T, p=0.11). Partition coefficients of MOLLI were not different between two 1.5T scanners (47.2% vs. 47.9%, p=0.13), and showed only slight variation across three 3T scanners (49.2% vs. 49.8% vs. 49.9%, p=0.016). Partition coefficient also had significantly lower percent error for precision (better scan/re-scan reproducibility) than measurement of individual T1 values (3.6% for λ vs. 4.3%-4.8% for T1 values, approximately, for pre/post blood and myocardium values).
Based on phantom studies, T1 errors using MOLLI ranged from 6-14% across various MR scanners while errors for partition coefficient were less (6-10%). Compared with absolute T1 times, partition coefficient showed less variability across platforms and field strengths as well as higher precision.
T1 mapping; Partition coefficient (λ); Extracellular volume fraction (ECV); Diffuse myocardial fibrosis; Modified look-locker with inversion recovery (MOLLI)
Myocardial T1-mapping methods such as MOLLI use SSFP readout and are prone to frequency-dependent error in T1-measurement. A significant error in T1 may result at relatively small off-resonance frequencies that are well within the region without banding artifacts.
The sensitivity of T1-estimates based on the SSFP based MOLLI sequence to errors in center frequency are calculated by means of a Bloch simulation and validated by phantom measurements. Typical off-resonance errors following local cardiac shimming are determined by field mapping at both 1.5 and 3.0T. In vivo examples demonstrate the artifactual appearance of T1-maps in the presence of off-resonance variation.
Off-resonance varied 61.8 ± 15.5 Hz (mean ± SD, n = 18) across the heart at 1.5T and 125.0 ± 40.6 Hz (mean ± SD, n = 18) at 3.0T. For T1 = 1000 ms, the variation in T1 due to off-resonance variation was approximately 20 ms at 62 Hz, and > 50 ms at 125 Hz.
Regional variations due to the inability to completely shim the B0-field variation around the heart appear as regional variation in T1, which is artifactual.
T1 map; Error; Off-resonance; MOLLI; Shim; SSFP
Dynamic first pass contrast-enhanced myocardial perfusion is the standard CMR method for the estimation of myocardial blood flow (MBF) and MBF reserve in man, but it is challenging in rodents because of the high temporal and spatial resolution requirements. Hyperemic first pass myocardial perfusion CMR during vasodilator stress in mice has not been reported.
Five C57BL/6 J mice were scanned on a clinical 3.0 Tesla Achieva system (Philips Healthcare, Netherlands). Vasodilator stress was induced via a tail vein catheter with an injection of dipyridamole. Dynamic contrast-enhanced perfusion imaging (Gadobutrol 0.1 mmol/kg) was based on a saturation recovery spoiled gradient echo method with 10-fold k-space and time domain undersampling (k-t PCA). One week later the mice underwent repeat anaesthesia and LV injections of fluorescent microspheres at rest and at stress. Microspheres were analysed using confocal microscopy and fluorescence-activated cell sorting.
Mean MBF at rest measured by Fermi-function constrained deconvolution was 4.1 ± 0.5 ml/g/min and increased to 9.6 ± 2.5 ml/g/min during dipyridamole stress (P = 0.005). The myocardial perfusion reserve was 2.4 ± 0.54. The mean count ratio of stress to rest microspheres was 2.4 ± 0.51 using confocal microscopy and 2.6 ± 0.46 using fluorescence. There was good agreement between cardiovascular magnetic resonance CMR and microspheres with no significant difference (P = 0.84).
First-pass myocardial stress perfusion CMR in a mouse model is feasible at 3 Tesla. Rest and stress MBF values were consistent with existing literature and perfusion reserve correlated closely to microsphere analysis. Data were acquired on a 3 Tesla scanner using an approach similar to clinical acquisition protocols, potentially facilitating translation of imaging findings between rodent and human studies.
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging; Myocardial perfusion; Murine
Needle access or drainage of pericardial effusion, especially when small, entails risk of bystander tissue injury or operator uncertainty about proposed trajectories. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) might allow enhanced imaging guidance.
Methods and results
We used real-time CMR to guide subxiphoid pericardial access in naïve swine using commercial 18G titanium puncture needles, which were exchanged for pericardial catheters. To test the value of CMR needle pericardiocentesis, we also created intentional pericardial effusions of a range of volumes, via a separate transvenous-transatrial catheter. We performed these procedures in 12 animals.
Pericardiocentesis was performed in 2:47 ± 1:43 minutes; pericardial access was performed in 1:40 ± 4:34 minutes. The procedure was successful in all animals. Moderate and large effusions required only one needle pass. There were no complications, including pleural, hepatic or myocardial transit.
CMR guided pericardiocentesis is attractive because the large field of view and soft tissue imaging depict global anatomic context in arbitrary planes, and allow the operator to plan trajectories that limit inadvertent bystander tissue injury. More important, CMR provides continuous visualization of the needle and target throughout the procedure. Using even passive needle devices, CMR enabled rapid pericardial needle access and drainage. We believe this experience supports clinical testing of real-time CMR guided needle access or drainage of the pericardial space. We suspect this would be especially helpful in “difficult” pericardial access, for example, in distorted thoracic anatomy or loculated effusion.
Pericardiocentesis; Catheterization; Image guided intervention; Interventional magnetic resonance imaging; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Pericardial disease
The 16th Annual Scientific Sessions of the Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (SCMR) took place in San Francisco, USA at the end of January 2013. With a faculty of experts from across the world, this congress provided a wealth of insight into cutting-edge research and technological development. This review article intends to provide a highlight of what represented the most significant advances in the field of cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) during this year’s meeting.
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Heart
To overcome flow and electrocardiogram-trigger artifacts in cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR), we have implemented a cardiac and respiratory self-gated cine ultra-short echo time (UTE) sequence. We have assessed its performance in healthy mice by comparing the results with those obtained with a self-gated cine fast low angle shot (FLASH) sequence and with echocardiography.
2D self-gated cine UTE (TE/TR = 314 μs/6.2 ms, resolution: 129 × 129 μm, scan time per slice: 5 min 5 sec) and self-gated cine FLASH (TE/TR = 3 ms/6.2 ms, resolution: 129 × 129 μm, scan time per slice: 4 min 49 sec) images were acquired at 9.4 T. Volume of the left and right ventricular (LV, RV) myocardium as well as the end-diastolic and -systolic volume was segmented manually in MR images and myocardial mass, stroke volume (SV), ejection fraction (EF) and cardiac output (CO) were determined. Statistical differences were analyzed by using Student t test and Bland-Altman analyses.
Self-gated cine UTE provided high quality images with high contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) also for the RV myocardium (CNRblood-myocardium = 25.5 ± 7.8). Compared to cine FLASH, susceptibility, motion, and flow artifacts were considerably reduced due to the short TE of 314 μs. The aortic valve was clearly discernible over the entire cardiac cycle. Myocardial mass, SV, EF and CO determined by self-gated UTE were identical to the values measured with self-gated FLASH and showed good agreement to the results obtained by echocardiography.
Self-gated UTE allows for robust measurement of cardiac parameters of diagnostic interest. Image quality is superior to self-gated FLASH, rendering the method a powerful alternative for the assessment of cardiac function at high magnetic fields.
High magnetic field; Flow artifacts; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Retrospective gating; Self-gated cine UTE
Following acute myocardial infarction (AMI), microvascular obstruction (MO) and intramyocardial hemorrhage (IMH) adversely affect left ventricular remodeling and prognosis independently of infarct size. Whether this is due to infarct zone remodeling, changes in remote myocardium or other factors is unknown. We investigated the role of MO and IMH in recovery of contractility in infarct and remote myocardium.
Thirty-nine patients underwent cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) with T2-weighted and T2* imaging, late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) and myocardial tagging at 2, 7, 30 and 90 days following primary percutaneous coronary intervention for AMI. Circumferential strain in infarct and remote zones was stratified by presence of MO and IMH.
Overall, infarct zone strain recovered with time (p < 0.001). In the presence of MO with IMH and without IMH, epicardial strain recovered (p = 0.03, p < 0.01 respectively), but mid-myocardial or endocardial strain did not (mid-myocardium: p = 0.05, p = 0.12; endocardium: p = 0.27, p = 0.05, respectively). By day 90, infarcts with MO had more attenuated strain in all myocardial layers compared to infarcts without MO (p < 0.01); those with IMH were attenuated further (p < 0.01). Remote myocardial strain was similar across groups at all time-points (p > 0.2). Infarct transmural extent did not correlate with strain (p > 0.05 at each time point). In multivariable logistic regression, MO and IMH were the only significant independent predictors of attenuated 90-day infarct zone strain (p = 0.004, p = 0.011, respectively).
Strain improves within the infarct zone overall following reperfusion with or without MO or IMH. Mid-myocardial and endocardial infarct contractility is diminished in the presence of MO, and further in the presence of IMH. MO and IMH are greater independent predictors of infarct zone contractile recovery than infarct volume or transmural extent.
Hemorrhage; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Myocardial infarction; Strain
Myocardial infarct heterogeneity indices including peri-infarct gray zone are predictors for spontaneous ventricular arrhythmias events after ICD implantation in patients with ischemic heart disease. In this study we hypothesize that the extent of peri-infarct gray zone and papillary muscle infarct scores determined by a new multi-contrast late enhancement (MCLE) method may predict appropriate ICD therapy in patients with ischemic heart disease.
The cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) protocol included LV functional parameter assessment and late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) CMR using the conventional method and MCLE post-contrast. The proportion of peri-infarct gray zone, core infarct, total infarct relative to LV myocardium mass, papillary muscle infarct scores, and LV functional parameters were statistically compared between groups with and without appropriate ICD therapy during follow-up.
Twenty-five patients with prior myocardial infarct for planned ICD implantation (age 64±10 yrs, 88% men, average LVEF 26.2±10.4%) were enrolled. All patients completed the CMR protocol and 6–46 months follow-up at the ICD clinic. Twelve patients had at least one appropriate ICD therapy for ventricular arrhythmias at follow-up. Only the proportion of gray zone measured with MCLE and papillary muscle infarct scores demonstrated a statistically significant difference (P < 0.05) between patients with and without appropriate ICD therapy for ventricular arrhythmias; other CMR derived parameters such as LVEF, core infarct and total infarct did not show a statistically significant difference between these two groups.
Peri-infarct gray zone measurement using MCLE, compared to using conventional LGE-CMR, might be more sensitive in predicting appropriate ICD therapy for ventricular arrhythmia events. Papillary muscle infarct scores might have a specific role for predicting appropriate ICD therapy although the exact mechanism needs further investigation.
Infarct heterogeneity; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Late gadolinium enhancement; Ischemic heart disease; Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
Quantitative measurements in the myocardium may be used to detect both focal and diffuse disease processes that result in an elevation of T1 and/or extracellular volume (ECV) fraction. Detection of abnormal myocardial tissue by these methods is affected by both the accuracy and precision. The sensitivity for detecting abnormal elevation of T1 and ECV is limited by the precision of T1 estimates which is a function of the number and timing of measurements along the T1-inversion recovery curve, the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), the tissue T1, and the method of fitting.
The standard deviation (SD) of T1 and ECV estimates are formulated and SD maps are calculated on a pixel-wise basis using the Modified Look-Locker Inversion recovery (MOLLI) method. SD estimates are validated by numerical simulation using Monte-Carlo analysis and with phantoms using repeated trials. SD estimates are provided for pre- and post-contrast optimized protocols for a range of T1s and SNRs. In-vivo examples are provide for normal, myocarditis, and HCM in human subjects. The formulation of SD maps was extended to R1 and ECV.
The measured myocardial SNR ranged from 23 to 43 across the heart using the specific T1-mapping protocol in this study. In this range of SNRs, the estimated SD for T1 was approximately 20-45 ms for pre-contrast myocardial T1 around 1000 ms, and was approximately 10-20 ms for post contrast T1 around 400 ms. The proposed estimate of SD was an unbiased estimate of the standard deviation of T1 validated by numerical simulation and had > 99% correlation with phantom measurements. The measured SD maps exhibited variation across the heart due to drop off in surface coil sensitivity as expected for the variation in SNR. Focal elevation in T1 and ECV was shown to have statistical significance on a pixel-wise basis for in-vivo examples.
Pixel-wise estimates of T1 mapping errors have been formulated and validated, and the formulation has been extended to ECV. The ability to quantify the measurement error has potential to determine the statistical significance of subtle abnormalities that arise due to diffuse disease processes involving fibrosis and/or edema and is useful both as a confidence metric for overall quality, and in optimization and comparison of imaging protocols.
T1 Map; Error; Precision; MOLLI; Extracellular; Diffuse Fibrosis; Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) has become an important diagnostic imaging modality in cardiovascular medicine. However, insufficient image quality may compromise its diagnostic accuracy. We aimed to describe and validate standardized criteria to evaluate a) cine steady-state free precession (SSFP), b) late gadolinium enhancement (LGE), and c) stress first-pass perfusion images. These criteria will serve for quality assessment in the setting of the Euro-CMR registry.
Thirty-five qualitative criteria were defined (scores 0–3) with lower scores indicating better image quality. In addition, quantitative parameters were measured yielding 2 additional quality criteria, i.e. signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of non-infarcted myocardium (as a measure of correct signal nulling of healthy myocardium) for LGE and % signal increase during contrast medium first-pass for perfusion images. These qualitative and quantitative criteria were assessed in a total of 90 patients (60 patients scanned at our own institution at 1.5T (n=30) and 3T (n=30) and in 30 patients randomly chosen from the Euro-CMR registry examined at 1.5T). Analyses were performed by 2 SCMR level-3 experts, 1 trained study nurse, and 1 trained medical student.
The global quality score was 6.7±4.6 (n=90, mean of 4 observers, maximum possible score 64), range 6.4-6.9 (p=0.76 between observers). It ranged from 4.0-4.3 for 1.5T (p=0.96 between observers), from 5.9-6.9 for 3T (p=0.33 between observers), and from 8.6-10.3 for the Euro-CMR cases (p=0.40 between observers). The inter- (n=4) and intra-observer (n=2) agreement for the global quality score, i.e. the percentage of assignments to the same quality tertile ranged from 80% to 88% and from 90% to 98%, respectively. The agreement for the quantitative assessment for LGE images (scores 0–2 for SNR <2, 2–5, >5, respectively) ranged from 78-84% for the entire population, and 70-93% at 1.5T, 64-88% at 3T, and 72-90% for the Euro-CMR cases. The agreement for perfusion images (scores 0–2 for %SI increase >200%, 100%-200%,<100%, respectively) ranged from 81-91% for the entire population, and 76-100% at 1.5T, 67-96% at 3T, and 62-90% for the Euro-CMR registry cases. The intra-class correlation coefficient for the global quality score was 0.83.
The described criteria for the assessment of CMR image quality are robust with a good inter- and intra-observer agreement. Further research is needed to define the impact of image quality on the diagnostic and prognostic yield of CMR studies.
Cardiac Magnetic Resonance; Image Quality; Quality Score; Late Gadolinium Enhancement Images; Cine Images; Stress First Pass Myocardial Perfusion
To predict the type and extent of CMR artifacts caused by commonly used pediatric trans-catheter devices at 1.5 T and 3 T as an aid to clinical planning and patient screening.
Eleven commonly used interventional, catheter-based devices including stents, septal occluders, vascular plugs and embolization coils made from either stainless steel or nitinol were evaluated ex-vivo at both 1.5T and 3T. Pulse sequences and protocols commonly used for cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) were evaluated, including 3D high-resolution MR angiography (MRA), time-resolved MRA, 2D balanced-SSFP cine and 2D phase-contrast gradient echo imaging (GRE). We defined the signal void amplification factor (F) as the ratio of signal void dimension to true device dimension. F1 and F2 were measured in the long axis and short axes respectively of the device. We defined F3 as the maximum extent of the off-resonance dark band artifact on SSFP measured in the B0direction. The effects of field strength, sequence type, orientation, flip angle and phase encode direction were tested. Clinical CMR images in 3 patients with various indwelling devices were reviewed for correlation with the in-vitro findings.
F1 and F2 were higher (p<0.05) at 3T than at 1.5T for all sequences except 3D-MRA. Stainless steel devices produced greater off-resonance artifact on SSFP compared to nitinol devices (p<0.05). Artifacts were most severe with the stainless steel Flipper detachable embolization coil (Cook Medical, Bloomington, IN), with F1 and F2 10 times greater than with stainless steel stents. The orientation of stents changed the size of off-resonance artifacts by up to two fold. Sequence type did influence the size of signal void or off-resonance artifact (p<0.05). Varying the flip angle and phase encode direction did not affect image artifact.
Stainless steel embolization coils render large zones of anatomy uninterpretable, consistent with predictions based on ex-vivo testing. Most other commonly used devices produce only mild artifact ex-vivo and are compatible with diagnostic quality in-vivo studies. Knowledge of ex-vivo device behavior can help predict the technical success or failure of CMR scans and may preempt the performance of costly, futile studies.
Cardiovascular; Magnetic resonance; MRA; Pediatric; Stent; Embolization coil; Stainless steel; Nitinol; Artifact; Image quality
Myocardial T1 and T2 mapping using cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) are promising to improve tissue characterization and early disease detection. This study aimed at analyzing the feasibility of T1 and T2 mapping at 3 T and providing reference values.
Sixty healthy volunteers (30 males/females, each 20 from 20–39 years, 40–59 years, 60–80 years) underwent left-ventricular T1 and T2 mapping in 3 short-axis slices at 3 T. For T2 mapping, 3 single-shot steady-state free precession (SSFP) images with different T2 preparation times were acquired. For T1 mapping, modified Look-Locker inversion recovery technique with 11 single shot SSFP images was used before and after injection of gadolinium contrast. T1 and T2 relaxation times were quantified for each slice and each myocardial segment.
Mean T2 and T1 (pre-/post-contrast) times were: 44.1 ms/1157.1 ms/427.3 ms (base), 45.1 ms/1158.7 ms/411.2 ms (middle), 46.9 ms/1180.6 ms/399.7 ms (apex). T2 and pre-contrast T1 increased from base to apex, post-contrast T1 decreased. Relevant inter-subject variability was apparent (scatter factor 1.08/1.05/1.11 for T2/pre-contrast T1/post-contrast T1). T2 and post-contrast T1 were influenced by heart rate (p < 0.0001, p = 0.0020), pre-contrast T1 by age (p < 0.0001). Inter- and intra-observer agreement of T2 (r = 0.95; r = 0.95) and T1 (r = 0.91; r = 0.93) were high. T2 maps: 97.7% of all segments were diagnostic and 2.3% were excluded (susceptibility artifact). T1 maps (pre-/post-contrast): 91.6%/93.9% were diagnostic, 8.4%/6.1% were excluded (predominantly susceptibility artifact 7.7%/3.2%).
Myocardial T2 and T1 reference values for the specific CMR setting are provided. The diagnostic impact of the high inter-subject variability of T2 and T1 relaxation times requires further investigation.
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Heart; T1; T2; Mapping; 3 T
With the need for healthcare cost-containment, increased scrutiny will be placed on new medical therapeutic or diagnostic technologies. Several challenges exist for a new diagnostic test to demonstrate cost-effectiveness. New diagnostic tests differ from therapeutic procedures due to the fact that diagnostic tests do not generally directly affect long-term patient outcomes. Instead, the results of diagnostic tests can influence management decisions for patients and by this route, diagnostic tests indirectly affect long-term outcomes. The benefits from a specific diagnostic technology depend therefore not only on its performance characteristics, but also on other factors such as prevalence of disease, and effectiveness of existing treatments for the disease of interest. We review the concepts and theories of cost-effectiveness analyses (CEA) as they apply to diagnostic tests in general. The limitations of CEA across different study designs and geographic regions are discussed, and we also examine the strengths and weakness of the existing publications where CMR was the focus of CEA compared to other diagnostic options.
Many investigators have speculated that hyperintense plaques (HIPs) of the carotid artery on noncontrast T1-weighted imaging (T1WI) in cardiovascular magnetic resonance indicate the presence of mural or intraplaque hemorrhage containing methemoglobin. However, coronary plaque imaging with T1WI is challenging, and the clinical significance of coronary HIPs on T1WI remains unknown. Incidentally, it is very rare to find an intracoronary thrombus at the culprit lesion site in patients in stable condition. This article reports the case of a lesion containing an intracoronary thrombus, detected as HIP on T1WI associated with the filter no-reflow phenomenon in a patient with silent myocardial ischemia.
Coronary artery disease; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Thrombus; Optical coherence tomography
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) has taken on an increasingly important role in the diagnostic evaluation and pre-procedural planning for patients with congenital heart disease. This article provides guidelines for the performance of CMR in children and adults with congenital heart disease. The first portion addresses preparation for the examination and safety issues, the second describes the primary techniques used in an examination, and the third provides disease-specific protocols. Variations in practice are highlighted and expert consensus recommendations are provided. Indications and appropriate use criteria for CMR examination are not specifically addressed.
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Congenital heart disease; Heart defects; Imaging protocols; Magnetic resonance imaging